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Cannes 2014 diary: Resul Pookutty, Ramesh Sippy and ‘Grace of Monaco’

Cannes 2014 diary: Resul Pookutty, Ramesh Sippy and ‘Grace of Monaco’

Cannes May 18

  • Resul Pookutty producing film
  • Ramesh Sippy: Bachchan had something…
  • Does ‘Grace of Monaco’ have to be a ‘true story’ ?

OSCAR winner Resul Pokutty, who won the award for sound editing and mixing on global megahit, “Slumdog Millionaire”, revealed he his producing his first film.

The sound specialist (pictured above), who has become something of an icon and ambassador for the Indian film industry, was speaking to at a private party last night in Cannes.

He said: “I’ve just come to have a look to see how the market works here.”

The film, a biopic of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith in the 15th century, is by a first time director and Pookutty was approached through a personal friend.

“I wanted to have a look (at the film) and I thought, ‘wow’,” he recounted.

Suitably impressed, he said he was happy to help support the project, which will not actually depict Guru Nanak himself, but will have audiences seeing him through the eyes of his closest companions.

He wants to take the film, which also has the word Fakir in the title, to the Toronto Film Festival in September.

He said he was unconcerned about any religious controversy that might arise from covering such a sensitive subject and was confident it would have wide appeal.

“No one has made a film on Guru Nanak? Why not?” asked Pookutty, who was attending his first Cannes Film Festival but has not been involved in any formal panels.

The first time director, a Sikh and former army man, raised the money himself by selling his assets and the film features young actors. It also contains a handful of religious songs, which no doubt Pookutty will be adding his skills to further enhance.

Also at the same party last night was Ramesh Sippy, the man who made probably the most famous Bollywood movie ever, “Sholay” (1975) and helped a certain Amitabh Bachchan on his way to virtually unimaginable stardom. There is universal agreement that Bachchan’s role as angry young man in that film laid the foundations for his future success. Incidentally, Bachchan attended Cannes last year, as he had a part in the opening film, “The Great Gatsby“.

“Yes, there was something about him,” said Sippy talking to casually. “There was potential,” he said with only slight understatement.

The point he was making was that there were others who had similar standout qualities but had been unable to capitalise on them.

He said he had huge respect and admiration for Bachchan and that Big B’s gentlemanly qualities have remained intact and continued to set an exemplary example to others.

There were also passionate but friendly disagreements too on the veracity of the opening film, Grace of Monaco”.

The tiny principality’s ambassador to India (yes, it has one) was vehement in his disapproval.

“There was nothing like that in 1962 and Princess Grace was in no way a political figure,” he said.

In the movie, produced by Yash Raj Film Entertainment in the US, and written by British Iranian, Arash Amel, Monaco’s very existence is depicted as being under threat as then French prime minister Charles de Gaulle saw little purpose to the nation state, just a few kilometres wide.

The film suggests that Princess Grace helped to defuse tensions and that she was conflicted about her role as a one-time movie star and then real life princess.

The Ambassador who knew Princess Grace personally and whose family have served the principality for three generations was adamant that the film had played too fast and loose with the reality of the situation.

He conceded that it might be a fine film but for him historical accuracy was non-negotiable.

The royal family of Monaco have strongly rejected the film and it is clear there is a view in the palace that the filmmakers have wronged them and their country by being historically inaccurate.

Despite all that, the film is actually a very positive representation of Princess Grace and shows her to be a woman of considerable charm, intellect and beauty – qualities the ambassador and his family long recognised, and many feel there will be a strong appeal for women, who will be able to relate to the double pressures of being a wife and mother, as well as wanting to preserve or better establish an identity beyond both.

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture


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